Last year, as I read about books on blogs, if I thought they sounded intriguing, I jotted down the title in my iPhone. At Christmas, when people asked what I wanted, I emailed them my book list. Many of the titles I’d completely forgotten but I knew something about them had to have sparked my interest when I noted them. By the end of the day, I had a lovely pile of books just waiting for me to (re)discover. Garden Spells caught my eye immediately with its apple green cover
The blurb on the back of Garden Spells states “In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small house in the smallest of towns, is an apple tree rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.”
I enjoyed this book a lot because the story line caught my interest and I got wrapped up in the characters. I always enjoy books more when I like at least one of the players and, in spite of their faults, the women of the Waverly family drew me in. Claire, the older sister, runs a catering service who is known for using flowers and plants in her dishes. She is the home-body, desperate to feel like she belongs somewhere – anywhere. Sydney is the younger sister, the one who couldn’t wait to get out and be on her own, living on the edge. When she returns to the small Southern town of her youth, she brings the next generation of Waverlys with her – her daughter Bay. And then there’s Evanelle, Sydney and Claire’s elderly cousin, who also lives in the town.
Each of the Waverly women has a “power” – something that influences the way others think/feel/act. Claire uses the plants & flowers from her garden to enhance the dishes she creates for her catering service. Sydney, once she realizes her own profession, helps others feel better about their appearance and themselves. Bay knows where things, and people, belong. And Evanelle periodically feels the urge to give her family and neighbors things (batteries, a blouse) that might not make sense when received, but will be needed later on. They are an interesting bunch!
I think Sarah Addison Allen will grow as a writer. There are parts of the book where I wanted a little more depth in the story, in the character backgrounds, just overall. I am in the middle of her second book now and I plan to continue reading her work. It’s just that there were parts where the book felt a bit thin.